It is a common sight for Singaporeans to be on their smartphones for almost everything on the daily basis – from managing our finances to online shopping and entertainment – the use of mobile has transcended its basic communication functions to encompass every aspect of our lives. In fact, according to the 2015 Google Consumer Barometer, Singapore has one of the highest rates of smartphone adoption worldwide (88 per cent), and over the next five years, Oxford Economics expects a further US$3.3 billion increase in gross domestic product contribution to the mobile internet industry.
This means that there is an unprecedented opportunity for brands and marketers. At no point in history have we had more direct and constant communications vehicles to reach consumers. That said, consumers are also increasingly expecting to be served only relevant and personalised information throughout the entire online purchase cycle. To that end, marketers need to understand that success in this new era of marketing relies heavily on a meaningful connection with consumers. Context marketing has the potential to revolutionize the consumer experience by delivering mobile moments that are relevant to the context that consumers are in at the exact moment.
A recent survey by Sitecore and Vanson Bourne has found that close to 7 in 10 organisations in Singapore are struggling to personalise the mobile purchasing experience for their customers during and after sales. There is a huge lost opportunity for brands and marketers here, especially since 93 per cent of consumers globally say that they would take action as a result of unmet expectations, which could mean switching brands, requesting compensation, or the worst case scenario: become a customer that is lost forever.
So what’s stopping brands and marketers from leveraging on that lost opportunity? The harsh reality is that most marketers are hindered by the challenges that are essential in managing, creating, and investing in context-driven campaigns designed for a mobile-centric world.
1. A lack of understanding of consumers’ needs and wants
While brands and marketers are well aware of the increasing importance to be consumer-focused, most are not walking the talk. They are still caught up on the elevation of mobile as a device and failing to understand the consumers’ true needs and wants. To bridge that gap, there is a need to think from the consumers’ perspectives and truly understand how each of them interact with brands. Brands and marketers need to integrate data from every customer touchpoint, and this can be tough to compile as most businesses today reside in isolated silos.
2. Mobile is not the entire customer experience
The true consumer experience goes beyond the mobile platform. Individuals interact with brands in different ways and through various channels. To have a thorough understanding of their purchase journeys, there is a need for brands and marketers to go beyond traditional one-way communication methods such as website banner ads, and evolve to engage in meaningful conversations with consumers at every possible opportunity. Channels and platforms to achieve that include store kiosks and e-commerce websites.
3. The difficulty of measuring success
Multi-channel consumer journeys create an attribution problem for mobile marketers. Consumers may use mobile devices to research products or enhance their experiences, but if they make purchases on desktops or in-store, it makes it tough for marketers to attribute the role of mobile in the successful sales made. And if the organisation does not understand the impact of mobile, how can they then optimize the experience to increase conversions in the channel that the consumer chooses to engage on?
4. The lack of a collaborative effort within organisations
With the shift in consumer mobile behaviors, companies are increasingly deploying numerous point solutions – which are often managed by isolated teams or departments – in the bid to try and keep up. Without a conscious effort to ensure consistent collaboration and synergy between the various departments within an organisation, it has become more difficult than ever to get a single consumer view that’s essential in delivering the best experiences.
The secret to context marketing: What’s needed to crack the code?
The challenges inherent in developing, delivering and optimising context-driven mobile campaigns are clear, but how can marketers surmount these challenges? How can they make meaningful connections with consumers and drive mobile engagement?
There is a pressing need for brands and marketers to move away from the notion that mobile is merely a device – mobile now refers to the complete and holistic consumer behavior, and understanding their habits and preferences in a rapidly changing landscape is the starting point. At Sitecore, we’ve gone so far as to claim that marketers and digital leaders can only effectively manage the customer experience when they are marketing in context of how consumers have interacted with their brand.
But what does “context marketing” really mean? The next two articles in our series will explore what successful context marketing is and its requirements, and provide insights into how to make the transition from being one that is backward in the mobile world to becoming a mobile leader.